Are you old enough to remember the Yellow Pages?
That big thick paperback was the main business directory in the pre-Internet world.
Well back in the day, if you weren’t in the Yellow Pages you weren’t in business. At least that’s what the sales people told us each year as they tried to persuade us (usually successfully) to increase the size of our ad.
Then in 1994, our world changed with the very start of online marketing and a billion trees breathed a sigh of relief.
Suddenly there were new words, new phrases, new rules and a new way to reach out and connect with our market.
I’ll go on the record and say I didn’t shed too many tears as many newspapers struggled and went out of business because the old way of marketing… or let me call it advertising, sucked.
The newspapers held businesses to ransom. We paid huge money to reach people that had no interest in seeing our message. It was mass bombing in the hope we’d connect with someone who wanted what we were offering.
Today, thanks to companies like Google and Facebook, we can target a specific market with stunning accuracy and efficiency.
I’ll confess I don’t know a lot about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) but I’m learning fast.
A couple of times each week, I’ll look to make sure my podcast, Top Agents Playbook, comes up in a Google search as close to the top as possible.
I’m increasingly dedicating more time to the podcast so I want to make sure people can find me when they search online.
My research tells me agents looking for quality real estate training and podcasts will most likely search key words like ‘real estate podcast’ ‘real estate agent podcast’ and ‘podcasts for real estate agents’
And this presents another problem because a search for ‘real estate podcast’ brings up a heap of podcasts related to investing in real estate not listing and selling it, which is my specific market.
For the first six months, Google didn’t know I existed and it was probably month eight before I eventually found my podcast on page ten of a Google search.
Back then, I was seriously tempted to drop up to $1000 a month with an SEO company who promised me a rapid ascent to page one, but I was skeptical.
So I started some deeper research into the murky and mysterious world of SEO and I’m delighted to report the answer was much simpler and cheaper than I thought.
My research method was a little unorthodox. I searched different key words for different industries then looked at the top ranking websites.
I quickly noticed the top ranking websites had a few things in common;
At least 90% of the sites were built in WordPress. A WordPress website is proven to be one of the best for optimizing search. It’s essentially an open source platform that has become increasingly popular with web developers in the last 5 plus years.
I could also see that ALL top ranking sites were fully responsive, meaning they come up well on a mobile device or tablet. (Last April, Google started to ‘unrank’ websites that were not responsive)
Then came my research breakthrough.
Every top ranking website had a great blog (also called news or updates) with highly relevant and useful information.
Each blog (the word comes from Web Log) was well written and informative and I could see there was a clear connection between the size and quality of the blog and the website’s ranking in a Google search.
I later learned that Google’s search algorithm is that smart, it can determine a well-written blog from someone uploading a bunch of key words or key phrases from a great article that can be of major benefit to the reader.
Content is king.
I recently interviewed Dan Norris, author of a ripping book called Content Machine. How to build a 7-figure business with zero marketing.
Dan has a mantra: Why spend money on advertising when you can do even better by offering great content?
I think Dan’s book is one of the best marketing guides going around right now. The guy is a phenomenal entrepreneur and credits his success to creating great content, mainly via blogging. Here’s my interview with Dan. http://www.topagentsplaybook.com/44
So back to Google’s clever algorithm.
Google searches words and looks for links. It favours regularly updated blogs with relevant information.
If an old blog has a link that’s broken, Google’s algorithm is trained to ignore it. Same if it’s full of typographical errors, poor grammar or bad writing.
But when it sees a number of people offering a link to a specific article or url, it’s more likely to rank it better.
So obviously content (good content) is king.
My podcast offers high quality audio spread over a number of platforms (iTunes, Sticker etc) plus I also write regular blogs like this one. I’m told I could boost a search ranking if I added video so I’m looking at that too.
Interestingly, a long term ‘heatmap’ of my site that monitors where people are going and how long they spend there tells me the Resources page is very popular too. Here’s a link to that: http://www.topagentsplaybook.com/resources
Another cool tip I’ll share is adding your keywords into the description for images you upload to your blog.
Melanie Piche is a realtor from Toronto.
She blogs about neighborhoods, condo buildings, homes she has a crush on and tailored specific information (The single woman’s guide to buying a condo in Toronto)
Google’s algorithm loves her website, http://www.getwhatyouwant.ca/ because it gets more than 2000 unique visitors a day. Yup a day! Okay, she blogs very well but her content is awesome too. She shares personal stuff and includes things about her team, her husband Brendan, her holidays and her poe visitors a day. Yup a day!
I’m such a big Mel Piche fan I have interview her twice for my podcast. Here are the episodes: http://www.topagentsplaybook.com/41 and http://www.topagentsplaybook.com/19
So what’s my message? Get yourself a WordPress site and start blogging. Blog about all the cool stuff that’s going on in your life and your neighborhood and community. Blog about stuff potential clients will find useful. Use keywords like Real Estate (your area/city) and start posting each week.
In no time at all you’ll start ranking higher and higher in Google.